Welcome to Part 3 of my list of Christmas film recommendations. If you’re looking to add some new gems to your festive rotation, here’s another batch of recommendables. In no order other than thorough randomness. Enjoy!
If you like your Christmas films dark - as in completely bloody savage - then this one’s for you.
Low production values and “indie” in all the ways good and bad. Highly disturbing but memorable. Do it only if you liked films like Todd Solondz’s Happiness (1998) (a personal favourite). This one is most definitely not your hearts-filled-with-joy family get-togther.
Almost exactly the same plot as 12 Gifts of Christmas which I recommended in Part 1 - where a personal shopper teaches a widowed workaholic the meaning of Christmas - but another nicely performed holiday romcom, nonetheless.
No trailer, but you can (kind of) watch it on YouTube (assuming you don’t mind the oversized frame-of-nonsense).
Bob Hope plays Damon, a con-artist who pulls a variety of scams including a handful contrived especially for the season. A highly amusing precursor to more modern seasonal subversions like Bad Santa. The Christmas classic “Silver Bells” made its first appearance here. (Although, admittedly, Gloomy (William Frawley) - one of Damon’s team of bell-ringing, faux-charity Santas - singing put some dough in the kitty is more my style).
Up there on my most-tears-shed list of Christmas films. In this case, I sobbed almost the entirety of this 1 hour and 37 minute weepy. Christmas in Conway centres on a hospice nurse (Mandy Moore) looking after a too-young woman in the last stages of cancer (Mary-Louise Parker). Andy Garcia is the anguished husband, intent on giving his wife one last perfect gift. Lovely, if gruelling.
15. Millions (2004)
Danny Boyle’s superb film about two boys who lose their mum but find a sack full of cash. Beautifully shot, heartfelt and, like all good Christmas films, unquestionably necessitates keeping the tissues nice and close. (The excellent James Nesbitt plays Dad).
Authors: Lauren Rosewarne, Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne